This was my first maker City Summit and I was a little nervous to go because “maker” didn’t really describe me. But, man oh man it was amazing.I met so many new people, including photographers and learned so much. The summit was at The Mill and Mine in downtown Knoxville, and it was beautiful. I had never been there and fell in love with it as soon as I walked up to sign in.

After everyone go signed in and got our amazing t-shirts things got started with the Mayor getting a “key” to Maker City that was handmade by some makers from the summit along with a poster. Then we moved on to our first key note speaker, Shunta Grant.

Shunta was so inspiring. She made me reevaluate how much time my business needed and she reminded me of why I was a photographer in the first place. I actually got to talk to her later in the day and she really helped me narrow down my goals and helped me figure out how to start to get there. She owns her own hair bow business, but she also does a weekly podcast called The Business Life & Joy Podcast. Check her out if you want to be inspired.

Between sessions you could sign up to meet with an expert about certain topics like branding, marketing, pricing, etc. I was signed up for someone, but he ended up getting sick. Guess who was the replacement? None other than my friend and business mentor Amelia Bartlett from ambr.creative . Honestly, I was so excited when I found out I was meeting with her. She already knew my business and could point me in some great directions immediately. If you need help with your business go to her website and set up a call with her! You won’t be disappointed.

After my meetings there was a second key note speaker. Jonathan Clark started his speech with an amazing poem that made you really think through the building blocks of your life and your business. Then, he talked about failure, which all entrepreneurs can relate to. We all made haikus about our failures (an amazing exercise) and he asked if some people might want to read theirs. Amelia was among the volunteers and hers was amazing.

I finished out the day networking at a cocktail hour with all of the other entrepreneurs. I met some people in other industries, but I also met some really awesome photographers who do completely different photography than I do. It was really cool to make some connections in the photography world. Especially some who are local.

If you are a “maker” and you want to join in the community follow them on Instagram or go to their website to see what is going on. I am proud to be a part of the maker city and I always love meeting new entrepreneurs. So, make sure to find me at one of the events and say hi!

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